Thursday, September 08, 2011

Your Guilty Pleasure: You Can't Control an Independent Heart

This is the first installment of your guilty pleasure, in which I give you a song that you didn't know you liked, liked but didn't want anyone else to know, or that you find is making your mind or butt involuntarily move. It's okay. Enjoy. I won't tell anyone.

Let's start this nice and easy. If you went to high school and/or college circa 1984 - 1993, it's likely this is lying around in your cassette collection. Or if you are not like me, long ago donated to Salvation Army. The Dream of the Blue Turtles was Sting's hotly anticipated, ultimately ubiquitous first solo effort. Recorded in the cushy confines of Quebec and Montserrat (documented in the film Bring On the Night) and slickly produced, the album still managed to feel spontaneous -- likely due to the colossal talent of his backing band, composed of jazz journeymen Omar Hakim, Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, and the only thing that made me ever watch the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, saxophonist Branford Marsalis. (With whom I also shared a crazy dinner--with Kenny Kirkland as well, I believe--near Rue Pigalle in Paris years and years and years [and years] ago. Not to sound like a name-dropping asshole, but that is a story for another time). Anyway, this is a solid, pop-jazz record with just enough mid-Eighties social consciousness ("I hope the Russians love their children, too," he broods) to seem relevant rather than a relic, so just plug your ears the next time you hear "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" blaring out in TJ Maxx. This is the Sting album that matters. And the Zenful call-to-end-co-dependency first single, well, it makes my heart feel pretty free.

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